A pair of prominent Democratic legislators urged Gov. Nathan Deal not to send Georgia National Guard troops to the U.S. border with Mexico until President Donald Trump ends a policy that allows children to be separated from their parents when they cross into this country illegally. Deal has said that he has not received any “specific requests” for troops. (DAVID BARNES / DAVID.BARNES@AJC.COM)

Democrats urge Deal to not send National Guard troops to border

Some Georgia politicians have called on Gov. Nathan Deal to not send National Guard troops to the southwest border until President Donald Trump ends his policy of separating children from their parents when they cross into this country illegally.

The Republican governor has yet to dispatch any troops to the U.S. border with Mexico and said Tuesday that he has not had any “specific requests” to do so. But a pair of prominent Democrats urged him to “stand on the right side of history” and refuse the call until Trump’s policy is reversed.

“This is not a partisan issue; it is a moral one. Children are not negotiating tools and should never be used as leverage in the pursuit of a political agenda,” state Rep. Scott Holcomb and state Sen. Elena Parent wrote in a letter sent Wednesday. 

Their call came after several governors, in response to the Trump administration’s policy, canceled the deployment of troops to the region or pledged to withhold resources.

The two Republicans competing to replace Deal have taken a very different stance. Lt. Gov. Casey Cagle and Secretary of State Brian Kemp both vowed to send troops to the border ahead of the May primary vote and have defended Trump’s “zero tolerance” policy, which includes separating children from their parents as they try to enter the U.S. seeking asylum.

Democrat Stacey Abrams, who awaits the winner of the July 24 GOP runoff, has called on politicians from both parties to put an end to the practice or risk “inflicting irreparable damage on these families and to our nation.”

The governor, who represented a North Georgia district in Congress for nearly two decades, has tried to sidestep the debate by blaming an influx of immigrants for the increased attention.

And he’s said he’s hopeful that the crisis will encourage federal lawmakers to “begin to work cooperatively toward what appears to require a more comprehensive solution to the issue of both legal and illegal immigration.”

Stay on top of what’s happening in Georgia government and politics at PoliticallyGeorgia.com.

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